"Currents," by Holly Cratty
“Currents,” by Holly Cratty

Following its successful inauguration in 2008, Watershed Poetry Mendocino
continues in 2009 with a series of watershed-oriented events beginning
October 3 in downtown Ukiah.  Like last year, the celebration mixes poetry
and ecological presentations exploring the value of watersheds to
our regional landscapes and our physical and emotional well-being. The
2009 program expands from a single day to more than a week of activities.

The anchor event, Watershed Celebration Day 2009, begins Saturday, October
3 at Alex Thomas Plaza in conjunction with the Ukiah Farmers’ Market.
Sponsored by Cloud Forest Institute, the program features an open mic, a
creek walk, and an EcoGroup and Literary Expo from 8:30 am – 12:30 pm
Poets are encouraged to read their work on ecological themes. The Friends
of Gibson Creek will lead a creek walk departing from the Plaza at 9:30 am
Eco-organizations, green businesses, and nature writers are invited to set
up tables in the Plaza.

The activities continue at 1:30 p.m. at Mendocino Book Company with “Words
For The Land: Nature As Source”, a pair of readings by authors Peter Berg
and Devreaux Baker. Berg, longtime advocate of bioregionalism and
watershed preservation and Director of Planet Drum, will read from his new
book, “Envisioning Sustainability”. Baker, a Mendocino Coast poet, will
read from her recently released book, “Beyond the Circumstance of Sight”.
Both authors will be signing books. At 6:30 p.m., an open poetry reading
takes place at the Hudson Museum sponsored by the Poet Laureate Committee of Ukiah.

Watershed Poetry Mendocino concludes October 9th  and 10th with programs honoring the creation of the Watershed Poetry Mendocino Map Project. On Friday, October 9 at 6 p.m. there will be a reception and reading at Colored Horse Studios, 780 Waugh Lane. A chorus of poets will read
including Mary Korte, Robin Rule, Linda Noel, Rachael Smith-Ferri, and
Theresa Whitehill. On Saturday, October 10, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., there
will be a reception for the map at Tierra, 312 North School St. At 5 p.m.,
Chuck Henderson will present a talk on watersheds, poetics and mapping.
All watershed poetry events are free to the public.

For information or to sign up to table at the Plaza on October 3, contact
Larry at (707) 485-7072 or ecotopialarry@pacific.net.

If you wish to support the annual program, donations are accepted through
Cloud Forest Institute. Checks can be made to Cloud Forest Institute and
earmarked “Watershed Poetry Mendocino,” and sent to Cloud Forest
, P.O. Box 1435, Ukiah, CA 95482.

See Program page for activity details.


Language Of Water

Water calls out the names of the dead and the living
Tells stories about our past

Moves through our dreams in great currents of desire
Pulls the dialect of our days strung together in steady vowels

Water is the gathering place and the scattering
The vessel and the drink

It wraps the planet in a mantle of blue
And spins her out into the universe longing

For connection with each stone she passes
She empties words of mourning and words of bliss

Carries undone houses in floods, so spirits live on through generations
Swimming in her body

Every flood plain is marked by the shape of her face
Every suicide that is called home through her portal

Dreams of light and movement and wanders
Vast plains of blue speaking in tongues of ocean, or river, lake or pond

To understand her speech you listen to fish, heron, or eel
You watch bird, turtle, fox, or bear bend down to drink from her mouth

You swim the long channels of her mind
And rise back up dripping with news from her underworld

Water calls out all our names, offers us second chances to heal
Reminds us to look at what we cannot now see,

And to listen for what we cannot now hear.

– Devreaux Baker, 2009

Poem inspired by the vision of Watershed Poetry Mendocino


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